Transactional frequency is the best indicator of customer loyalty, according to a survey of 1,000 Americans aged 18+ by Strativity, which also found that significant loyalty opportunities exist for companies with infrequent purchase cycles. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

Almost 40% of customers interact with their favourite company at least weekly, making the quality of customer interactions critically important, while for brands with less frequent transactions building loyalty requires even stronger customer relationships, the study concluded.

Among the key findings, staying in touch with customers between actual transactions - whether to recognise a birthday, anniversary or to add value to customers day-to-day lives with an app or newsletter - is likely to increase the frequency of interactions in a natural and genuine way. This suggests that forcing interactions through unwanted daily emails or hourly Facebook updates is not the best way to keep customers engaged over time.

Mistakes: A Big Opportunity
Over the course of a year all businesses have many opportunities to either surprise and delight or disappoint their customers. Long term these experiences have the potential to either enhance or inhibit successful business growth

Companies also need to master the art of the apology, the study found. While the majority of favourite brands caught their own mistakes and made amends, fewer than half of them apologized. When the companies didn't catch their own mistakes, they were less likely to make amends to customers who brought it to their attention, unless of course the customer used social media as their communication source.

About one third of customers indicated that they had been surprised or delighted by their favourite company in the past year. The benefit of providing surprises or delights is remarkable: Nearly 8 out of 10 customers who have been delighted by their favourite brand say they are brand-loyal, or at least an advocate of the brand, compared to only 3 in 10 customers who have not been delighted.